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Updated on September 30, 2022

Black Spot on Tooth - Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

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Black Spot on Tooth 

Black spots on teeth are usually caused by plaque that accumulates on the tooth surface. Plaque is a sticky and tasteless film that forms when food, bacteria, and other substances stick to the teeth.

Black spots on teeth can be caused by several factors like diet, poor oral hygiene, smoking, and drinking too much coffee or tea. They may also occur in people taking certain medications or with medical conditions such as celiac disease.1 

Some dark spots can be removed from tooth surfaces with a variety of tools, such as an abrasive toothpaste. A black spot on a tooth is not dangerous, but can lead to tooth decay if left untreated. 

9 Causes of Black Spots on Teeth

There are many reasons you may have a black spot on your tooth. Some include:

  1. Food or drink — Some foods, like leafy green vegetables and dark chocolate, and beverages, like red wine, coffee, tea, or dark carbonated drinks, can cause black stains on your teeth.2
  2. Age Enamel usually gets thinner as you age. As a result, the hard, yellow tissue under it, called dentin, may begin to show through. This can show up as darker spots on your teeth.3
  3. Tartar Hardened plaque is called tartar. Tartar can cause the appearance of black spots on the teeth close to the gums, as well as damage to surrounding bone.  
  4. Tobacco Smoking or chewing tobacco can cause medical and dental problems, including black spots on the teeth.4
  5. Tooth Injury Some injuries to the teeth, for example, during sports, can cause permanent changes that alter the color of your teeth. 
  6. Fluorosis Fluorosis is a condition that arises when excessive fluoride accumulates in teeth. It usually only happens in children as their teeth develop.5
  7. Medications Certain medications can cause changes to the teeth. Tetracycline, for example, can cause permanent brown, blue, or black spots on the teeth.6
  8. Celiac disease Celiac disease has been linked to dark spots on the teeth.7
  9. Cavities Cavities initially start as white or yellow spots and slowly progress to brown, red, or black spots. 

Other Symptoms of a Cavity

Tooth enamel is the protective layer of mineralized tissue that is present on the outermost layer of the teeth. Tooth decay occurs when this enamel weakens and starts to break down, exposing the underlying dentin and pulp.8

The most common symptom of a cavity is sensitivity when brushing or eating sweet or cold foods. However, some people may not experience any pain from a cavity.

How to Get Rid of a Black Dot on Tooth

There are a few ways to remove black spots from your teeth without having to go to the dentist:

  • Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing baking soda, which will help remove stains and kill bacteria
  • Use a toothpaste that contains hydrogen peroxide, which will help whiten the teeth and kill bacteria at the same time
  • Use mouthwash twice a day for 30 seconds each time, which will cleanse your mouth and potentially remove stains

Always try to use products approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

However, if you try home remedies to remove black spots and they are unsuccessful, speak to your dentist about professional options: 

  • Dental bonding — Using tooth-colored materials, dentists can restore and repair teeth to their natural color.
  • Veneers Another option for people with black spots on their teeth is to have veneers bonded onto the teeth. These are thin shells, almost like a finger nail in appearance, that can improve the appearance of front teeth.
  • Enamel microabrasion Microabrasion is a dental procedure that removes tooth stains. It involves polishing the area and removing the outer layer of the enamel, revealing the lighter underlayer.
  • Teeth whitening — This involves using a high strength peroxide to penetrate deeper stains. 
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Preventing Black Spots on Teeth

The first step in preventing black spots on teeth is to keep your tooth enamel strong. This can be done by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and avoiding foods that are high in sugar. You should also limit highly pigmented foods and drinks, like coffee, red wine, and dark sodas, which all contain compounds that can stain your teeth.2

Some people also use whitening strips to remove tooth stains. Whitening strips are available over the counter (OTC) and are easy to use. Whitening strips use peroxide to remove stains. 

Using an OTC mouthwash using a water flosser can also help keep teeth clean and free from black spots.11

Summary

Black dots on teeth can be caused by plaque buildup or surface stains. They can also occur when you have been drinking coffee, tea, or red wine for long periods of time. 

If you notice black spots on your teeth, you can try several at-home remedies to remove them. If these don’t work, contact your dentist for professional advice and treatment.

11 Sources Cited
Last updated on September 30, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Diabetes, Gum Disease, & Other Dental Problems” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Jan. 2022
  2.  “Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth” American Dental Association, n.d.
  3.  “Tooth Whitening at Home” Consumer Reports, 2016
  4.  “Smokeless Tobacco: Health Effects” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2020
  5.  “Fluorosis” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Mar. 2019
  6.  “Teeth and medication” Better Health Channel, n.d.
  7.  “Dental Enamel Defects and Celiac Disease” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Sept. 2014
  8.  Lacruz, R. S. et alDental Enamel Formation and Implications for Oral Health and Disease” Physiol Rev., 1 May 2017
  9. Accepted Products” American Dental Association, n.d.
  10.  “Mouthrinse (Mouthwash)” American Dental Association. 1, Dec. 2021
  11. James, P. et alChlorhexidine mouthrinse as an adjunctive treatment for gingival health” Cochrane Database Syst Rev., Mar. 2017
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